Share Your Running Story

What was your experience like on your journey to the Glass City?

We’re regularly featuring stories from runners around the world about what set them on their path to running, and their experiences along the way to participating in our race. Submit your story and photo today.

I am a very late comer to participating in any sport, let alone half marathons. I graduated from high school the year Title IX was passed – so while my daughter was extremely active in numerous sports starting at age 5 it was too late for me to reap the benefits. Plus I had always viewed myself as completely unathletic, awkward and incapable of hitting a baseball or tennis ball, throwing a basketball, etc. I did start an organized exercise program the year my daughter was born and became addicted to that and walking – which I figured any one can do, anywhere!

I walked in my neighborhood at 5am so I get in my walk before morning mom duties and work, during my kids’ soccer practice,s in between their swimming and crew races, in the staircases at the hotels where we stayed for any type of sport tournament. I HAD to exercise everyday. In 1994 (I was 40) I decided to run in the first local Komen 5K. I trained for months and was an absolute nervous wreck the morning of the race – it was super hot too! I did OK and a few weeks later got a second place in my age group at another local 5K. I continued to run (fortunately hooked up with my daughter’s friend and now my great running buddy Stacy, 30 years my junior!), walk and exercise regularly. In late 2011 my daughter (who lives in Columbus and had run several full marathons by then) challenged me to run the 2012 Glass City Half with her – but on race day she was over seven months pregnant so I did it without her; finished about 15 minutes better than I hoped!!

I’ve done most of the Glass City Half Marathons since then and placed second or third in my age group a few times. This year I finally placed first in my age group of 18 old ladies (65-69)! I am not very competitive – my running goal at this point in life is to not fall and finish a race upright in a decent time. I pay no attention to my time when I race, just wait to see my time when I finish. Really I run primarily so I can eat sweets, keep in shape, hopefully be an example to my four grandchildren (even though I am still an old lady to them) and surprise my old self sometimes with a decent time!

Bridget Brell Holt

While on my vacation I did an easy 5mile run then showered in preparation for going to wife was standing next to me and she was brushing her hair.all of a sudden I had the classic elephant in the middle of my chest.i hollered to my wife ,give me an aspirin quick.she asked, did I pull something during my run? I said no, I’m having a heart attack.she was shocked beyond belief, as she fumbled for the aspirin.eventually I was life flighted to the Florida hospital on a gurney, we burst into an operating room where at least nine people were doing many things to this time my wife arrived and had a brief talk with the head cardiologist and he said, I understand that your husband is a runner. My wife said no, he is a marathon runner. He immediately broke open a package of Plavix and popped them in his have no idea what this does to us when a marathon runner goes down with a heart attack. he then came to me and said that my major heart artery has a 100% blockage and that they would clean it out and put a stent in.he also said that I was in such great physical shape that I suffered less than 10% damage to my heart.eight months later I ran the marine corp marathon.

In January 2018 I was having struggles with my running and told my cardioligst.we knew that as early as 2010 that I had a leaking aortic valve,but the leakage was still minor.for three months they ran many tests and could not find a cause for my difficulty.during my visit he told me that in 2 days I would come to the hospital for an exploratory heart cath.when I woke I was informed that my hearts two major arteries both had 80% blockages and that they had been cleaned out and stents put in. January 4th 2019. All of a sudden without any lead up I am having difficulty even running short distances.the cardiologist starts testing all over again.this condition keeps getting worse.i can hardly walk up a flight of stairs and I can’t even run a step.june 1st he tells me that my aortic vale has an approximate 68% blockage and has to be replaced. this hospital only does open heart surgery. I said that I did not what that procedure. That I wanted that experimental tavir procedure.he said that only eleven hospitals in the u.s. are doing them.spectrim health in grand rapids,mi. is the closests but they may not accept you because you are not a high risk patient.they interviewed me and choose to accept me as part of there ongoing program.july 23rd I had my procedure and stayed the mandatory overnight visit.the next morning I was cleared to start up my running program.44days later I ran the Haven to Holland half marathon.i was 1st in my age group.i was born and raised in Toledo and a Toledo road runner member since 1980. I am looking forward to the glass city marathon as I will have an opportunity to qualify for my 5th Boston Marathon.

Gary Lake

For the third year I traveled to Toledo to run with my now 11 year old I Run 4 unsung hero. This year was different, we traveled 700 miles by car on Friday from VT. I brought my daughter,  mother and niece to meet this special family that shares a piece of my heart. We woke up early Saturday morning to take part in the festivities. First Aubree and I ran our 5k, then we watched her sister take part in the 1/4 mile kid race. Then we both joined my daughter in the kids 1 mile event. I shouldn’t have been surprised but the two girls became instant friends. They were inseparable the entire weekend. On Sunday morning I was up before the sun getting dressed and ready for the 1/2 marathon. It was a beautiful day for a long run and the spectators made the race pass quickly. I will remember a moment near mile 10 when an older gentleman was just in front of me dressed in orange. Two beautiful amazingly supportive young women also in orange ran to the bottom of the hill and cheering and running with their father the entire way up the hill. Little did they know they were helping so many of us. I smiled the entire way up and conquered that hill just like he did! I saw them a few more times in different spots over the last few miles and couldn’t help but smile. In 3 short days we drove 1400 miles, ran 3 races totaling 17.1 miles and made so many memories along the way!

Leanne Tapley

Hi!  I had a great race and am so excited I BQ’d.  It was a beautiful day and a fantastic course.  The crowd support was very good and it was surprising how many people were out there.  A couple of things that happened and were so awesome:

First, when we were at the expo, we spoke with Bill Landgraf, Chip, and Lucas (pacers for the Marathon). They gave us a visual walk through of the race and lots of tips to help us achieve our BQ.  They were so friendly, kind and insightful of the course.  When I was running it, I kept thinking back to what they told us.  Their words powered me through.

I was staying downtown and tried to get an Uber.  There wasn’t one in sight so I called to the front desk and asked them to call me a cab.  I kept my Uber app open, still searching for a car.  When I got downstairs, there wasn’t a cab because the front desk had forgotten to call.  It was about 6:20 at this point.  I talked to the front desk and asked if they could drive me and they said no.  I talked to the valet and asked if they could drive me and they said no.  I offered $50 the for someone to drive me but the valet manager said no because they could get fined.  At this point, no cab, no Uber, no ride and I tried Lyft.  After downloading the app and putting in my info, still…no cars available.  At this point, I think I am not going to get to the start line.  Holy cow (or should I say “Holy Toledo”?).  I am a wreck!  I’ve trained for the past 18 weeks, flown from KC and now, I’m not going to get to run because I can’t find someone to drive me to the Marathon?!?!  Finally, a guest comes down and I say, “I am so sorry to bother you but I am supposed to run the Marathon, today, and I cannot find a ride.  Is there any way you can take me?”  She says, “Sure.  We are just waiting on a couple more people.”  I am elated!  I find out she and her friends are there to support their friend who came to run it.  They surprised her the night before and were headed out to the course (what wonderful people!).  All five of us hop in the minivan and head to the start line.  Her husband (I think they were married but my brain was crazily wondering if I would make it in time) drives with great purpose to get me there before the start.  We pull up just in time for me to go to the porta-potty and get in line…thanks to my carload of angels.  I know God sent these wonderful people and I am so thankful!  This is true kindness and at the end of the day, that’s what life is about.

Another thing that happened…I was somewhere past 16 miles (who knows at that point).  I was still running my pace and I run past these two guys who are cheering.  One of them looks at me with a solid coaching look and says, “good job.  Nice and relaxed.  Your form looks good.  Nice pace. You’ve got this.”  I loved hearing that.  It helped me in the final miles as I imagined him as my coach.  What a great guy!

Cristan Rayl

Where to start? My name is Tracy Flak and I have participated in the Glass City Half several times. It has always been a convenient race since it is close to home (I live in Howell, MI), but more importantly near my family. I was born in Toledo, OH and moved out of town around the age of 6, when my parents got divorced.  My father has lived in Maumee for most of his life. Signing up for the half in Toledo was a great way for my family and I to stay with my parents in Maumee, we would always make a weekend out of it. My dad was always so proud of me, as he was a fellow runner before he became sick. A few years back he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. After a 3 year battle, he lost his life this past August. We ran many races together years ago when he was healthy. He is the one that got me into running to begin with. My heart breaks every day now that he is gone. Signing up to do the full marathon this year, is my way of paying tribute to my biggest hero. A therapy of sorts. Here’s to the healing this process will hopefully bring me. ❤️✌🏻

Tracy Flak

After successfully running my first and only marathon at the 2011 GCM, I was ready to “destroy” my PR at the 2012 GCM Half. Long story short, I created my own (dumb) training plan and ran myself info a very painful IT Band injury 3 weeks before the race. I rested/rehabbed and attempted to run the race. After 3 Miles the pain was too much and I dropped out.

I immediately took action to fix whatever caused the issue after the race. Saw a sports doc, did PT, changed my shoes, added strengthening/stabilization exercises, attended Good Form Running, foam rolling, etc… After 6 weeks I was able to run again (5ks), but didn’t fully “figure it out” until Fall 2015 when I successfully trained for and ran Churchill’s.

Fast forward past successfully running the ’16 & ‘17 Churchill’s races and I was ready to take on the GCM Half again. My training was different/smarter now. Everything was going fine, then out of nowhere my IT Band starts hurting 2 weeks before race day. Somehow “it was happening again” I feared. But I had learned a lot since 2012. I immediately shut down my training and focused on rehab. My knee was feeling “ok” but could it go 13.1 without pain, or possibly causing damage? I certainly thought about not even attempting to run, but wanted to at least try. In the end I decide to trust that the changes I made in ’12-‘13 SHOULD allow me to run the race. Also, I’m stubborn.

Race Day: I feel ok, not great. Just “ok”. As I walk across campus and to Corral C, I’m probably overanalyzing my knee on every step. I find a few friendly faces, chat, distract myself, and get ready. Truth be told, I was 90% sure I wouldn’t be able to finish. The race starts and the first 3 miles went fine. I tried to start slow, but was at a low 9 min pace through 4. So far so good. I’m past 3, but when will the issue surface?

I started to feel some slight discomfort at the 4.5 mile mark. I don’t panic, but did wonder if I should just be smart and exit the race. I decide I’ll go till my body tells me to stop. I kept on checking my form, recorrecting, taking breaks for gummies/Powerade, and trying to run relaxed. All things I learned over the years. As each mile passes my optimism grows. When I hit mile 7 (over half way!) and my knee still feels ok, I realize I could possibly make it all 13.1 miles! I get a euphoric boost that propels me to mile 10. With 3 miles to go I knew I had it! Down Dorr to Douglas, then back on campus to the Glass Bowl!

Official time 2:04:10 ✅

I am ECSTATIC! As a runner there’s not much worse than training for a race and not being able to compete due to injury. For me running/finishing GCM ‘18 was as much mental as it was physical. All the changes I made since ’12 paid off, and I used every one of them along the course. I did not run through pain, I avoided aggravating my injury by being technical while also not over thinking it. It was amazing and a bit surprising!

I love running. You learn so much about yourself.

What I’ve leaned since 2012:
Listen to your body
Be smart/cautious, but don’t panic/overreact
Learn and grow from mistakes/failure

Not being able to run the 2012 race really bugged me. I hate to fail and to possibly have the 2018 race go the same way…I just couldn’t. I purposely wore my 2012 race shirt Sunday. Why? Because forget that stuff. Own your failure, learn from it, get over it, and get better.

Doug Mallette

Such a phenomenal experience, I am 22 yr old Bekah Shininger (bib # 594). As this was my fourth full marathon, it was still just my second in-person full marathon! It has been my goal for years to achieve a Boston Qualifying time… and I DID IT !!! 3:28:21. I could not have done it without your well organized event, or the support of my family, also known as “Team Bekah♥︎”.

Bekah Heart

I live in Sylvania ohio, my first Glass city was here in Toledo back in 2013 where I did the half marathon.

I never really was a runner, I was a walker.  I could walk for miles.  One day a friend of mine said to me, hey want to run a 5k with me and my mom?  I said sure I will give it a try.  I haven’t stopped!

I am a hairdresser  with a wonderful husband and two great boys, both grown and on their own.  I started running 5k’s, then started training for my first half back in 2013.  Since 2013 I have ran more 5k’s than I can count, 9 1/2 marathons, 2 duathilons, 2 Ragnars  and my first full marathon just this April at the Glass City.   I currently am training for my second full marathon in October down in Columbus.

I became a pace coach for our local running group here in Toledo lat year, Daves Marathon Training Group, love this program and the people I have met along the way.  Prior to running and coaching I was a Rowing instructor for 3 years.  Workout  or  any kind of fitness is truly what I love.  I lift 3 days a week and run the rest plus bike.  My family is very supportive of my crazy fitness life.

I am a huge meal prepper and love to cook, so its easy for me.

I love destination runs, I am been to Vegas for the Rock and Roll and am going back this November.  My husband and I travel to
Hawaii often, this February I  m going to sign up for a 5k while staying in Kona, I mean why not right?  lol.

I think someday I may try an Ultra race or even something bigger, I will have to see how my body holds out, 53 and counting doing things I never thought possible.  Never give up on your hopes and dreams and most of all have fun with it, life it meant to have fun and I try to make all my runs with friends as fun as possible.

Mary Jo Bicanovsky

I was introduced to the Glass City Marathon in 2015. I had trained all through the winter and when race day rolled around, everything was perfect. Not only did I get a significant PR, but I dipped under four hours! It took me a little while to confirm that I had indeed beat the clock, but I still get goofy grin when I think back to that moment when I saw 3:59:53. It was an amazing weekend capped with an amazing finish.

This time around I had the privilege of seeing the event from a unique perspective: as an event ambassador. I was really excited to see that GCM invites runners to apply to be an ambassador. I got a lot of “behind the scenes” information and was “in the loop” in an unprecedented (at least for me it was unprecedented) fashion. I also got to meet the other ambassadors and had extended access to the staff of the event. While I was impressed in 2015, I was even more impressed with what I saw in 2018. This event is carefully planned and organized. The staff takes a great deal of pride in their work, and it shows. The excitement of being on the ambassador team was contagious, and I didn’t think it was possible to have greater anticipation for the race (compared to 2015), but I was wrong. When it finally rolled around, I was sooooo ready for race weekend!

Working the expo as an ambassador was a neat experience, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to do it. When it came time to run, everything fell in place. My training had been spot on, the weather was perfect, and the course was enjoyable. Everything was ideal. I had a great run!

This was my 28th marathon+, so I have quite a few races that I can compare to the Glass City Marathon. There’s truly nothing else quite like it!

My only regret is that I didn’t run this as my first marathon. I was a wee bit jealous to see all of the neat perks reserved for the first timers.

Frank Murphy

I ran cross country and track and field in high school. I was a shy and quiet girl growing up. One morning, after watching the news, (which is something I cut out for my mental sanity after all of the COVID madness), I saw that there would be a marathon coming up. Instantly, the desire was placed in my heart. I was nervous about running, being as though I hadn’t ran in so long, I thought about signing up.

It took some time to sign up, because of my own fear, yet the desire to do so, wouldn’t go away. I figured that My God must have placed that desire in me. But why?? After so long. HE wanted me to believe in myself, the way that HE believed in me. After some time, I finally did it, I signed up for the race. I believe I prepared the best I could, yet the day of, fear began to overtake me. The day was not going as planned, I was late to line up and was ready to give up, but I didn’t. During the race, there were birds chirping when no one was around, almost as if they were cheering me in, sprinklers, beautiful homes and nice trees.

The snacks were yummy also. I probably was one of the last people to arrive at the finish line, but I did finish! And that day, I knew that it had brought My God and I closer. To know that HE was there with me, every step of the way. Even down to the people who kept me going when I wanted to quit. He was my rock and i honor Him for that. Still to this day, almost 2 weeks later, I am wearing my jacket and my medal in the inside pocket. I go for Jesus, because He went for me. That’s all.

Arquila Camper

Greatly enjoyed the half marathon route, having no idea that Toledo had so many pretty neighborhoods.

Ran alongside a nice guy from Ann Arbor, graduating in nursing the following week. At mile 8 we parted ways as he continued on the marathon route. At mile 9 my left knee acted up and I slowed to a fast pace walk. Started running again a quarter mile later but soon after was passed by the 2:30 pacer. Disappointed but just happy to continue after having worked out the knee problem.

Tried it pair with another fellow at mile 10 but he was fading fast and wished me well. Tracked with a woman at mile 11, based on a similar heavy breathing pattern as mine (LOL) and continued with her, until leaving her at the last water stop just before mile 12.

50 yards from the end the best thing happened! The 2:30 pacer had stopped and was looking at her watch and said, “I’ve still got a minute to go for under 2:30!”. A bunch of us high-tailed it in there and I made it under 2:30 by 13 seconds for only the second time in my six year running career (I’m 61)! A great big thank you to that 2:30 pacing angel!!

Mark Maisonneuve

Prior to coming to Toledo for the GCM, the only thing I knew about the city is that it is where Klinger on M*A*S*H was from. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that not only is the course flat as advertised, but it is scenic and beautiful as well!  We arrived on Thursday giving is plenty of time to drive the places where we could and on Friday I did a little shake out run through the Wildwood Park. The expo was easy to navigate and having the race director there to personally answer questions was a bonus.

Luckily race day weather was perfect. The tree lined neighborhoods and nicely paved trails gave me a welcomed distraction during the race.  The people cheering in the neighborhoods and the sidewalk chalk written words of encouragement gave me extra motivation to finish strong. Running to the finish line in the soft grass of the stadium was a treat for my tired feet. I had a goal of finishing in 3:55 but with all these factors in my favor I was able to beat my goal my almost 2 minutes. Ringing that BQ/PR bell was awesome!!!

I personally think this race is a hidden gem!  Anyone hoping for a great race should believe the slogan “you will run faster in Toledo”!  Thank you GCM for a great experience!

Jane Kersh

Over this past weekend I completed my first marathon. It was phenomenal to feel the energy and the support of everyone around me. After the race, I had some time to just pause and reflect on my experience. Attached is a word document with those thoughts and observations. It is my hope that these words will encourage someone out there. It might not be much of a story, but some just some reflections from a regular guy who ran his first marathon. If you think these words could help some one out there who might be thinking about their first marathon, please feel free to share it on a blog or Facebook. After I wrote this, I just felt like some one out there some where needs to read this.

The GCM is an amazing event! From the starting line to crossing the finish line in the stadium, I always feel special. With this being my first marathon, I was overwhelmed by the swag and the package that I received. the 26.2 bumper sticker, mug and t-shirt among other things is literally everything I was thinking about purchasing to celebrate my first marathon accomplishment. The staff and the volunteers are always supercharged up and even the community gets involved. I saw so many houses with people standing outside cheering me on. Strangers felt like friends. It seemed like everywhere I ran everyone knew it was my first marathon and just continually cheered me on. (I think the yellow bib gave it away) I appreciated the color coding with the yellow bib for people that are completing their first marathon. Seasoned runners and even first time marathoners saw my bib and cheered me on. Even the medical staff that helped me stretched my legs encouraged me to keep going ONLY if I felt up to it and strong enough.  It was an electric atmosphere that fostered a confident and conquering attitude. From the clean up crew all the way to the executive staff, thank you does not even begin to express my gratitude.

This was a memorable experience that will never be forgotten!

Patrick Pagal
Stefanie Flippin

After hitting a personal low in my life, I took up distance running to get me through the stress of medical school. I volunteered at the medical tent at the finish line of the 2011 Chicago marathon and was hooked.

I ran my first half & full marathons in 2012, working my way up to 50Ks, 50 milers & three 100 miler finishes. But the progress wasn’t linear with multiple years of health issues, a DNF, & a string of marathon performances that I was disappointed in. Running started to become a stressor instead of the stress reliever I had set out for it to be.

This past fall I decided I wanted to re-write my story. I had been told numerous times that I was too slow to qualify for Boston and that I couldn’t run both trail ultras & quick road marathons. My husband encouraged me to go for it, signing me up for Glass City. In my mind I was already looking at back-up fall races.

I approached my coach with this goal, beginning official training in January. I knew it was going to be a lot of work but I was excited for it. The months flew by & before I knew it I was toeing the line in Toledo. The nerves were present but once my feet hit the pavement, my body knew what to do. The race feels like a blur but I vividly remember hitting mile 20, checking my watch, doing the math, & grinning realizing that my first BQ was in reach.

I picked up my pace for the final 5K & sprinted the final 800 meters to enter the stadium with a huge smile on my face & my arms in the air. In Toledo, years of self-doubt faded away and I re-wrote my story. Thank you, GCM, I will never forget you!

Stefanie Flippin

This year’s GCM was my first half marathon. My whole family had been encouraging me throughout my training, especially my brother, who has a great passion for running. He has taught me a lot about running, and he always knows the right thing to say to help me believe in myself.

Shortly after I registered, I asked him if he wanted to run it too. At the time, he was having trouble with one of his toes, and wasn’t sure it would heal in time for the race.

He did heal, but he never did register. I’m sure there was a little bit of jealousy on race day, but he never let it show. He let me shine in my own light that day.

He got up early to drive me to the start and be my crew. He jogged through Toledo and Ottowa Hills to meet me every few miles to cheer me on, and make sure I was ok. At mile 9 when I was feeling pain in my quad, he walked with me for a bit while I drank a vitamin water a medic gave me and told me my situation would change, and encouraged me to just keep going.

At mile 10 both quads were hurting me. I tried to run here and there in the last 3 miles, but my legs weren’t having it. So I walked most of the last 3. Once I got into the Glass Bowl, I was able to jog the last little bit of the race to finish strong (even though it hurt, and I was already crying). My husband, my mom and dad, and of course my brother were all there to congratulate me at the finish, tell me how very proud they are of me, and to reassure me that even though it didn’t go quite as I had hoped, finishing was still a huge accomplishment.

Thank you GCM for a great race. Can’t wait until next year!

Erin Salari

Ran my Virtual Marathon today Saturday, April 18th and made it a fundraiser for the Greater Lansing Food Bank as well.  Raised $2000 and one dollar buys three meals!

Perfect day for a race, sunny, minimal wind,  32 degrees at start and mid 40’s at the end.   My friends came out and cheered me on all along the course while practicing Social Distancing.  A good friend Julie and my daughter Molly took turns cycling along with me providing my water and carb supplements.  It was so fun having my friends able to cheer me on all along my course!! Their smiles and  energy carried me through making it one of the best marathons!!!  I am so happy I did this, I was ready to hang up the running shoes when the marathon was cancelled but I just couldn’t despite the weight of the situation surrounding all of us! I wanted to write my own story for the COVID19  pandemic!

My time was 3:41:57.  So happy a BQ!

Laurie Mooney

The Start – Sunday morning I woke up at 4:30 am, getting only about 5 hrs of sleep. Race nerves & loud hotel neighbors kept me up, but I banked extra hours the week leading up to this so I wasn’t too worried. We arrived on campus around 5:50 am. Matt dropped me off and I walked toward the starting area. So far, everything was going smoothly! After a few bathroom stops, light stretching, and meeting up with @alisakasprzak I finally headed into the starting corral with just a few minutes to spare. At this point, all of the nerves from earlier in the week had started to subside. I felt fairly calm, and mostly just anxious to start this thing already.

Miles 1-11 – I stuck with my plan and started conservative at 8:15 pace and dropped a little bit each mile. By miles 4-6 the plan was to settle into race pace at 7:50-8:00. At first, that felt forced, but within a few miles I got into a rhythm and the miles started ticking away. Matt (husband) and Annaliese (third child) were waiting for me in Wildwood at mile 11. I was all smiles at this point. Everything felt effortless. I was now holding steady in the 7:40s.

Miles 12-20 – I switched to autopilot mode as the course went into the section with few spectators. I went through the half around 1:43, a minute and a half faster than planned. Some self-doubt started to creep in and I wondered how I’d maintain this pace and not hit “the wall”. I did my best to push the negative thoughts aside. I kept repeating my mantras: “you can do hard things,” “you’re prepared for this,” and “there will be easy miles and hard miles – just take each one as it comes.” Miles 16-20 I seemed to pick up the pace again. I was passing people left and right. At this point, I was hitting a few 7:30s, and even went 7:27 at mile 19. I remember thinking “You shouldn’t feel this good this far into the race. Take advantage. This is your day.” I was on the ultimate runner’s high at this point. You couldn’t take the smile off my face.

Miles 21-25 – We re-entered Wildwood and I saw Matt and Annaliese again there at mile 21. At this point, I knew a BQ was well within reach. I was over 3 minutes ahead of my race plan. But I didn’t get ahead of myself. So much can happen in the final 5 miles. I was fully ready to hit the wall at any time. Miles 22-25 along the final stretch of bike path were brutal. I can’t say I really hit a wall; the wheels never fell off. My legs simply seemed to go numb to everything. It took all of my effort to hold onto 7:45 pace at this point. Multiple times I said out loud “You’re going to do this, Jenna.” I knew I was going to BQ, without question. Going into the day I knew that objectively my fitness showed a sub-3:25 was possible, but everything would have to go right. Now I could see that 3:25 was within reach — and I wanted it. At mile 23 my headphones died and I started praying a rosary on my hand all the way until mile 25. It took every bit of mental energy to focus on completing that and tuning out everything else.

The Finish – Coming onto campus was surreal. Passing Savage Arena and the track where I had spent so much time in college, I got extremely emotional. And when I made it into the stadium I saw Matt had managed to make it to the finish to cheer me on. I crossed the line and was so overcome with happiness. For crushing my time goal, yes. But also because I had finally proven to myself that I can do this again. That I can be fast. And I know beyond a doubt that I’m just getting started.

Overall, GCM was an amazing experience. The course was beautiful, the race was well-ran, volunteers were so encouraging, and it was likely the most I have ever enjoyed racing.

Jenna Schultz

I remember when I first ran over 7ish miles in February 2011 and was so proud of my accomplishment that I quickly signed up for the hometown race, the 2011 GCM half marathon. As I ran that race I watched in awe and some runners took a right onto the UP trail. On the older GCM course, if you took a right that meant you were running the full while the half runners went left. I remember thinking, I will never turn right on that trail and run a full marathon, cause that’s crazy. Im thinking some of you can relate here as we say things like I did or claim, I’m never doing that again yet, we always do 😂 Well in 2012 I did indeed turn right and earned my first marathon finish which is still my marathon PR. Since then I have ran every year at GCM but had never really trained with a group but started to get into that in 2019 when I randomly ran with the 4:40 pace group for Daves MIT as I had committed to being their pacer on race day for the 2019 GCM full. From what I can remember I think their team was “Happy Feet” I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet them and have them get familiar with me. They were a tad concerned that I was a pacer and didn’t have a watch 🤪I had no idea where mine was at the time and had not ran with one for a few years. Needless to say I found my watch and paced a few first timers to their goal and finished at 4:39 last year🍾  I have been addicted to helping others in this regard ever since 🖤 I applied to be a 2020 GCM ambassador and was accepted into program and also became a “sub” coach for Daves MIT this year. I had debated showcasing my running for this years GCM and going after that sub 4 marathon I wanted. Here’s where the problem came in, I also wanted to be a pacer for 2020 GCM as it was what was truly in my heart. I have accomplished so much as a runner that as a veteran, I want others to have the same feeling of accomplishment and success that I have had though running that lead me to be an all around better person. I had not yet pulled the trigger to pace for full for 2020 but it was what I was going to do until Covid came into play and I started running alone. Since then I have continued running and left the “training” behind and opted to run a virtual half this year. I am very proud and grateful to be a part of such a great race in Toledo and amazed at how quickly everyone adapted to their new normal for running. Thank you all for letting me share in your running adventures. Hope to see you all out there again soon and at GCM in 2021.

Kelly Bandfield

Today was weird. I woke up today & thought I’m just going to get my virtual half marathon over with (as it was cancelled due to covid, but you could opt to do it virtually). I didn’t prep the way I would the night before or the morning of I just wanted to get it over with.

So I went out for my run, alone. I didn’t have my cheerleaders there (my family & my fiancé) or my dad or Heather Canino running by my side. No crowd to cheer you on & pump you up, no water aid stations (which all I could think about for the last 4 miles was water), & no porta potty’s😖.

I had to be my biggest cheerleader & get myself out of my head, & that I just did, thanks to the help of music❤️🎵Every time I wanted to slow down or ease up a song would come on that would push me or make me think of someone, or a memory (especially on mile 12 Lyndsey Williams was with me the whole way when “Send me on my way” came on I laughed the whole time). I had to make my own fun & my own crowd.

I ended up crushing my time from last year and PR’d at 1:56:52. I think I took out every frustration I’ve had over the last 2 months and used it as my fuel, so thanks Rona for being my motivation😂

Jillian Wisniewski

SO glad that you offered the virtual run!  I completed mine in a large parking lot in the rain — not ideal conditions but memorable! I will add this memory to all those related to this social isolation period — and this one sure was a highlight!  I never would have completed the run if you all had not offered the virtual option — it made me feel the comradery of the group despite us all doing it in different ways!

Thank you!

Beth Corbo

I would like to share a little different story with you, how some of us out of staters came to run the GCM weekend.

In the fall of 2014 I signed up for a “buddy” through a program called “I Run 4 Siblings: The Unsung Heroes,” a program which pairs runners (or walkers, cyclists, any type of exercise people do, really) with siblings of a person with special needs. The original group, “I Run 4 Michael,” which pairs a special needs person (any age, newborn to adult) with a runner, had a long waiting list at the time, that is why I went to the sibling group. In both groups, runners and their buddies (and families) create a relationship through FB posts within the group about daily miles done and dedicated to the buddy, race medals sent, cards or gifts, even meet ups; each relationship evolves in its own way.

The Lashley family in Toledo has a daughter, Kami, with special needs who will be turning 9 this May. In the fall of 2014 she had been signed up for the I Run 4 program by her mom, Brooke, who then decided to sign up the siblings, as well. I was assigned to the older brother, Ethan, who was 10 at the time, and two other women, Joy Peko and Leanne Tapley, were assigned to the twin sisters, Zoe and Aubree, who were 7 at the time. As buddies to sibs in the same family, we runners became friends as well. We live in different states, Vermont, New York, and Mississippi, but each year since joining we have traveled to Toledo for the GCM weekend to hang out with the Lashley family. Those siblings started with the Kid’s races and as of this year all have worked their way to running the 5K with us. Then we runners do the half marathon the next day and the kids wait near the finish with their posters, cheering runners on, then hop in and run across the finish with us when we get there.

What an incredible experience to come visit this wonderful family and run as a group of 3 runners and 3 buddies! Kami, the sibling with special needs, even runs the 1/4 mile Kids race herself now, and it is heartwarming to see her three siblings jump in and run the race with her, or make posters and cheer her on. They are the most loving, close-knit family, and it’s an honor for all of us to run for these kids and to have gotten to know them. Ethan will turn 14 in June and has expressed an interest in taking on the challenge of the Half Marathon with me next year. It’s so exciting to see, as a side benefit of this whole program, another generation getting bitten by the running bug through our influence!

Dorothy Hughes

I started running in 7th grade, and ran my first marathon in 2015. After several injuries, I only ran shorter distances and minimal races for several years. Last year I ran the 5k at this event, but it was so much fun racing the full glass city marathon this year! My brother motivated me to run this race as we both wanted to qualify for Boston. What a fun, flat, and fast course. Highly recommend this race, the Toledo running community is amazing!

Megan Drewes
Sandy Anderson

This year a group of us “mature” women from a local running group signed up to participate in Glass City Marathon Relay. We called our team The Five Old Ladies. Our hope was that we could place in the females master devision. I was scheduled to run the longest leg. Well, the week of the race I sustained a significant knee injury. I still wanted to participate. With very little notice my team rearranged their legs so I was now running the shortest leg. One member of the team even offered to run my leg as well as her own. I did “run” leg 3, more like a pathetic hobble, but finished with my team cheering me on. We ended up coming in last place in our devision, but grew as a team and as friends.

Sandy Anderson

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